Researchers from UPF are working with young people in the Raval district to boost audiovisual media as a tool for social transformation



The project SMOOTH gathers 11 European universities that will study whether -educational commons- can act as catalysts to reverse social inequalities among young people and children. UPF is to undertake the performance of two case studies in Barcelona on which work will be carried out with the entities AEI Raval and ElParlante.

The researchers from the UPF’s Youth, Society and Communication Research Group ( JOVIScom ) will be working with 50 educational institutions in more than 10 countries on the H2020 project SMOOTH Educational Common Spaces. Passing through enclosures and reversing inequalities.

The -educational commons- methodology is based on the collective construction of knowledge, role inversion, the pedagogy of active listening, and governance among peers as the tool to promote democratic participation by children and young people. It seeks to make participants active subjects at all stages of the process, turning them into co-researchers who make decisions, from the design to the end of the project.

María José Palacios , a project researcher linked to the Department of Communication states that -the objective is to create spaces of democratic citizenship where people experiment with new ways of thinking and doing, based on equality, collaboration, collective creativity, sharing and care. Ultimately the aim is to collectively build knowledge in order to strengthen intercultural and intergenerational dialogue that helps create community-.

-The objective is to create spaces of democratic citizenship where people experiment with new ways of thinking and doing, based on equality, collaboration, collective creativity, sharing and care. Ultimately the aim is to collectively build knowledge in order to strengthen intercultural and intergenerational dialogue that helps create community-

On 2 February, they began working with the Asociación Educativa Integral del Raval (Raval Comprehensive Educational Association, AEIRaval ), an entity that each year offers socio-educational interventions and individualized support to around 200 children in the Raval district of Barcelona.

-We want the younger generations themselves to investigate how they imagine the future and to express it using a language that is already known to them: audiovisuals-

-The idea is that they should be the ones to explore the proposal for the future of the younger generations of the centre-, Palacios continues. -We want the younger generations themselves to investigate how they imagine the future and to express it using a language that is already known to them: audiovisuals-. The research group is working with two groups totalling 28 young people.

The case study being applied to AEI Raval involves workshops that are held over 16 weeks. They consist four stages:

  • Exploring the future imaginary they have of themselves. In this part they ask themselves how they imagine the future, whether they see it in a positive or negative light; they exchange viewpoints and reflect on their worries and their expectations. Three workshops for this stage have already been held.
  • Learning about and mastering audiovisual products, and designing how they will work with the youngest. There are three workshops, the first one was held already, on 23 February.
  • Exploring the imaginary of the minors of the centre. The teenagers themselves will be the ones enquiring into these imaginaries.
  • Reflecting on what has been learned and expressing it through an audiovisual product.


  • The researchers hope to finish this first case study between May and June of this year. The second case study to be undertaken by UPF will be carried out in September 2022 together with ElParlante , an entity that works on EduCommunication and uses visual and audiovisual technologies as instruments for transformation and change. https://www.upf.edu/web/joviscom/smooth

    Project Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/smooth_h2020


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